Eckhart Public Library
603 South Jackson Street
The Eckhart Public Library was one of the first major public institutional buildings constructed in the city that reflected the city’s growing wealth and prominence as a manufacturing center for automobiles and carriages. As the Founder of the Eckhart Carriage Company, Charles Eckhart began to disperse his wealth in the final years of his life for public projects in his adopted hometown beginning with the start of construction of the library in 1910, and its completion in 1911.
Auburn was poised to accept the financial support of steel benefactor Andrew Carnegie when Eckhart stepped in, feeling Carnegie’s monetary offer for a new library was not adequate enough. Mr. Eckhart retained the Carnegie appointed architects of Patton and Miller to design the Arts and Crafts architecturally inspired building we see today. The large wooden brackets under the eaves, Art Glass windows, and tile roof are trademarks of the style. Eckhart completed the library campus concept with the further donation of a three-tiered cast iron fountain and park encompassing the entire city block. At the time the Eckhart Public Library was completed, Charles Eckhart along with his sons Frank and Morris, had also established the Auburn Automobile Company as the Eckhart firm transitioned from wagon and carriage production to that of automobiles. The library was renovated and expanded in 1996 and is listed to the National Register of Historic Places.